If you’ve got young kids, you’ve probably at least heard of the Pixar’s most recent movie, Inside Out. It stars the five personifications of a young girl’s core emotions – Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger. The lesson learned from the movie (because we all know that every kid movie has one) is that we need to recognize both the good and “bad” emotions in ourselves in order to be whole and live fulfilled lives.
We’re coming to this realization in regards to our workplaces as well. We can no longer make businesses sterile, emotionless spaces. Engagement scores are dismal, companies are struggling with high turnover and absenteeism, not to mention the lost productivity potential due to presenteeism. People are simply drained of energy.
Because it will primarily always be our people that bring the most value to work with their ideas and energy, we must accept some basic fundamentals. Mainly that we are emotional beings first and logical beings second.
It is a necessity to recognize the role of emotions in our workplaces, even if they are messy, confusing and uncomfortable at times. This needs to be done for two reasons:
1. When we ignore the fact that people have emotions that affect the way they do their work and interact with others, it can create conflict and dysfunction. Anger, fear, disgust and sadness can all wreak havoc unless we can identify them for what they are, understand why they are occurring and deal with them accordingly.
2. When we deny the emotions we dislike – anger, fear, et al. – we reduce our ability to feel the ones that truly drive us and give us energy – pride, joy and love for our work and one another. By taking away people’s ability to identify the full spectrum of their emotional selves, we fuel apathy in our companies.
We need to be able to understand the darkness in order to make it into the light.